For my inaugural post, the popping of my Slack Jaw Punks cherry if you will, I’ve been asked to list five horror movies I love to watch on Halloween. As I adore so many horror movies, it was rather difficult to hone it down to just five. The list below contains some of the films that immediately popped into my head as I mulled over my assignment. Please do not take this as a definitive ‘no exceptions’ list. And I’m sure you guys will have other ideas as to what constitutes a great horror movie to watch in this most hallowed of seasons.
But it’s not your list. It’s mine. So shut your cake holes and just read, okay?
I suppose since vampires are my absolute favorite supernatural creature, Fright Night has to be first on this list. As I almost fell asleep during the 10 whole minutes I could watch of the 2011 version, for this list I’m referring to the original 1985 film. Quick recap for you newbs out there: vampire moves in next door to nosy kid in the suburbs and no body believes him. He must rely on help from his goofy friend, frustrated girlfriend, and a TV vampire hunter to stop the murderous fiend.
I’d watched many a vampire film before this one but somehow FN managed to flawlessly create a creature that is both terrifying and charismatic. I don’t know how Chris Sarandon did it (Yes, I do. I met him in person and I had to us all my energy not to faint and/or fan girl all over him.) but he played the sexiest and most menacing vampire I’ve enjoyed watching on the big screen. Roddy McDowel, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, and Stephen Geoffry round out the wonderful cast. Don’t worry about the dated special effects or the cheesy 80s music. Just revel in the tension, the fear, and the drop dead sexiness of Jerry Dandridge.
Can’t have a Halloween horror movie list without at least one of them being about Halloween, now can I? For those of you who’ve never seen this (I’m not angry, just disappointed.), Trick r Treat is an anthology movie the likes of which I haven’t seen in a long, long time. There are five stories but they all take place in the same town. At some point, several characters cross paths – sometimes it’s a simple bump in the street, other times they’re neighbors. Regardless, each story is fantastic. We’ve got a serial killer, monsters, ghosts, creepy kids, and buried secrets. Tying it all together is a pint-sized treat or treater in orange footy pajamas, Sam, either baring witness to the holiday horrors or making sure no one breaks the traditional Halloween rules. Look for Brian Cox, Anna Paquin, Tamoh Penikett, Dylan Baker and more that complete the outstanding cast.
I eagerly anticipate the new release of this film that will be the version Clive always wanted it to be before the Hollywood machine chewed it up and spit it out. But until then, what more can be said about Clive Barker’s imagination that is responsible for the awesomesauce of Nightbreed? Boone is a man who believes he’s a true monster. So naturally he seeks out the mythical city of Midian, where the monsters live and hide from humans, to join their number. In doing so, he learns who the real monsters of the world are.
I love movies from the age before CGI. All the monsters in Midian are fascinating and horrifyingly beautiful and it seems like no two are the same. Peloquin in my personal favorite. David Cronenberg is so frakkin’ creepy as the psycho masquerading as a psychiatrist.
Sure, there are a lot of zombies movies out there. Many of them might even be better than this one (Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead). But the campiness of this particular film always bring me back for repeated viewings. A comet passes over the earth, turning everyone into piles of dust. Two girls, Reggie and Sam, are seemingly the only survivors until they begin to encounter the creatures created in the wake of the comet’s influence.
I know it seems weird but zombies, valley girls, and the 1980s make a fun comedy-horror ride. Throw in a team of crack-pot scientist douchebags, and it’s a perfect storm of goodness.
I was introduced to Asian horror back when the American version of Ringu came out. That led me to the original Japanese film which in turn opened the doors to the rest of the region’s horror, including this one from South Korea. Two young girls return home from a stay in a mental institution and must deal with their abusive stepmother. It doesn’t help their recovery that a ghost is haunting their home, either.
If you’ve never seen any Asian horror (seriously, if we meet in person just pretend you don’t know me and go about your business), this movie would be a great introduction. It’s an absolute mind-fuck with a punch-you-in-the-heart twist that still kills me every time I even think about it. The acting is brilliant from such a small cast. One of the great things about Asian horror is the subtlety. Everything doesn’t have to be spelled out because the writers believe the audience is smart enough to get the inferences and symbolism. That’s not to say they can’t do gore but it’s more about the atmosphere and terror than jump scares and blood.
As I stated at the beginning, there are so many great scary flicks out there to watch but if you’d like to dip your toes in the horror pool for the first time, these five are a great place to begin. Enjoy! And by enjoy I hope you wet yourselves and cry like little girls.